Lola Kirke Vault

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Lola Kirke and Zoë Kravitz Talk About New Music and an Old Love Triangle

The friendship between Lola Kirke and Zoë Kravitz began with a “falling in.” The pair first crossed paths as young New Yorkers—Kirke was 19, and Kravitz 21—when they found themselves in the middle of a youthful love triangle. But that’s ancient history now: in the intervening decade, Kirke established a steady career in film, which included roles in Mozart in The Jungle, Mistress America, and Gone Girl; while Kravitz tried her hand at screenwriting and film direction. The two actors also became close friends, to the point where Kravitz, now 31, was one of the first people to hear an early draft of Kirke’s sophomore record last summer. Lady for Sale, out last Friday, is the glitzy lovechild of country and disco that Kirke always dreamed of making, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the artist to release it. Here, Kravitz, a musician herself, asks Kirke a few questions about good art, bad reviews, and fake orgies.

ZOË KRAVITZ: We’ve never zoomed.
LOLA KIRKE: We’ve never zoomed. You look great on here.
KRAVITZ: You look blurry.
KIRKE: Oh, my camera’s really dirty. Are you at your grandmother’s house?
KRAVITZ: No, I’m in London where it always looks like somebody’s grandma’s house.
KIRKE: Literally.
KRAVITZ: You can’t go anywhere without seeing a floral print. Sup dude! How you doin’?
KIRKE: I’m a bit sleepy and Santino’s a bit needy, but other than that—
KRAVITZ: So, is it okay if like 90 percent of my questions are about Santino [Kirke’s dog]?
KIRKE: 100 percent. Santino, say hi!
KRAVITZ: My baby! Oh, my goodness. You love me.
KIRKE: He does. He really does. He says he’ll text you later.
KRAVITZ: Okay, he always says that, but I know he’s kind of a player. So, I’ve been given some questions and I wrote some of my own, and we can just see how we go. How did we first meet?
KIRKE: Is it okay to say that I considered you an enemy for many years? [Both laugh] I will say, the journey from enemy to dear friend has been one of the most affirming of my life. To go from not liking someone so much to being so close—I consider you one of the smartest, coolest people I’ve ever met, and it gives me faith that first impressions can be dead wrong.
KRAVITZ: I mean, in your defense, it wasn’t even that you were wrong. We had quite a complicated beginning of a friendship that included a love triangle. That’s all I’ll say. I’m using love loosely, but a triangle. In our 20s in New York City.
KIRKE: I mean, I was actually a teenager.
KRAVITZ: God damnit. I was like, what, 21?
KIRKE: You must have been 20 and I was like 19, which is basically a grown up in New York.
KRAVITZ: How old are you now?
KIRKE: 40? [Both laugh] I’m 31.
KRAVITZ: Yeah, I’m 33. But that song “The Crime,” on your album, is about the person that we had our falling out with.
KIRKE: Our “falling in” really. So yes, that’s how we met.
KRAVITZ: The next question that I wrote down is: how are you?
KIRKE: I’m feeling really good today. I don’t know why, because I’m really, really tired. I’ve had an intense week of like, ego death. I shot a four day group sex scene and broke my foot.
KRAVITZ: Actually?
KIRKE: No, sorry, that’s a gross overstatement—I’m kind of limping. And in between takes of getting pounded at a fake orgy, I kept running upstairs and making sure that my entire music business wasn’t collapsing. I couldn’t let myself take any breaks, because then everything would fall apart—
KRAVITZ: Meaning you couldn’t just focus on one thing at a time?
KIRKE: Yeah, which makes me think I have mild to severe ADHD.
KRAVITZ: You’re a hard worker.
KIRKE: I’m good though. It’s hard to be miserable when it’s springtime in New York.
KRAVITZ: New York is just my favorite place. I’m very upset that you’re not there all the time anymore.
KIRKE: I know, but neither are you Zoë, let’s be real. You’re at your grandmother’s house in London right now.
KRAVITZ: Look, I go where Grandma goes, you know what I’m saying? Okay, the next question I have is: what’s your hope for today?
KIRKE: That’s so cute. My hope for today is that I can maintain the optimism I woke up with.
KRAVITZ: By evening you will be having a martini.
KIRKE: I’m doing a night shoot tonight. So, by evening I’ll be—
KRAVITZ: —Getting pounded?
KIRKE: By a man with a thing over his penis so that I can’t actually feel it.
KRAVITZ: [Laughs] Oh, no.

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Lola Kirke Pays Homage To Madonna On New Song “Better Than Any Drug”

Actress and musician Lola Kirke has released her new song “Better Than Any Drug,” a groovy, retro-sounding pop banger that’s also serving as the lead single of her forthcoming new album, Lady For Sale, out this April.

Over a steady, thumping beat and twangy guitar licks, Kirke lets her playful vocals loose as she sings about being in the swooning throes of a brand new love: “Cause you feel better than any drug / Ooh I think I’m in love.” The song, which mines that infectious, buoyant pop from Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” era, arrives with an equally lively music video premiering on NYLON, below. Shot in black and white by Director Alex Eaton, Kirke dances around her home — shimmying in the kitchen, kicking her feet on the pool table — in a sheer black robe, much like you would if you also developed a new crush.

“Director Alex Eaton and I wanted to honor the Madonna reference in the video, so we pulled a lot from Madonna’s ‘90s tour doc Truth of Dare,” Kirke writes of the video in an email. “Since I’m nowhere near the dancer Madonna is, we brought on the wonderful choreographer/actress Angela Trimbur to create movement that felt organic, sexy, and playful, too. What I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm, so I think it turned out really nicely.”

Lady For Sale is Kirke’s second full-length album and will be released on the legendary Third Man Records. She released her debut project, Heart Head West, in 2018, a collection of starry-eyed, country-tinged folk.

Watch “Better Than Any Drug,” below, and read on for an interview with Kirke about the making of “Better Than Any Drug,” the story behind her new album title, and what you can expect to hear on the project.

What are you up to right now — describe your surroundings.
I’m at my kitchen table, staring at some dead flowers and a half-drunk bottle of wine I opened two nights ago and have been too tired to finish.

Tell us about “Better Than Any Drug,” what spurred you to write it?
This song came about after being urged to write something I would have loved when I was 12… which I guess says a lot about how precocious I was as a child! I asked my dear friend and pop genius Holiday Sidewinder to co-write it with me and it ended up sounding a bit like a Madonna song I would have listened to ad nauseam. Director Alex Eaton and I wanted to honor that reference in the video, so we pulled a lot from Madonna’s ‘90s tour doc Truth or Dare. Since I’m nowhere near the dancer Madonna is, we brought on the wonderful choreographer/actress Angela Trimbur to create movement that felt organic, sexy, and playful, too. What I lack in skill, I make up for in enthusiasm so I think it turned out really nicely.

Your new album is called Lady For Sale. Is there a story behind it?
I hadn’t worked as an actress in a long time and the demos I was making for this record weren’t generating any interest. People in the industry on the acting side were naming my weight as the problem, which felt humiliating. On the music side, it was the same refrain: “You need to be like 14 and massive on TikTok.” I began to feel like a product for sale, instead of an artist. The worst part was no one was buying. Then I thought about how many people pursuing their dreams are in that same boat, so I wrote a song about it. Thematically, it’s an outlier on the record — the rest of the album is about falling in love when you’re not supposed to really and how wild it is to follow your heart anyway — but the words “Lady for Sale” felt like they captured the sonic aesthetic the most, so we made it the name of the album.

How does it feel to be releasing the project with the legendary Third Man Records?
Incredible! I couldn’t be happier to be working with them. They’re just the coolest. Visiting their office makes me feel like a musical version of Charlie in the Vinyl Chocolate Factory.

What can listeners expect to hear on the new album?
Think like ‘80s Dolly [Parton] hanging out with “Stand Back” Stevie [Nicks] at Donna Summers’ birthday party, which is being held in Tanya Tucker’s RV.



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Lola Kirke Has Some Opinions About Social Media She’d Like to Share

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Lola Kirke, the musician and actress from New York City, is running around her Manhattan apartment, gathering her phone, her keys, and making sure she hasn’t forgotten anything, because she won’t be back home for the rest of the day. The 29-year-old has packed her schedule for the next 12 hours to the walls: lunch; then a visit to the smoking hypnotist, who’s responsible for her quitting cigarettes a few days prior and whom she swears by; then, a massage with “a guy who rings bells over my body,” she explains, and finally, dinner at one of her favorite restaurants, Frankie’s 457.

For her, this is a rare day off. A break before the release of her latest music video, for the song Win It, off of her latest EP Friends and Foes and Friends Again, and then a visit to Park City, Utah—where her latest film, “Lost Girls,” premieres at Sundance tonight.

The decor of her apartment, at least, suggests a sort of calm. It isn’t renovated, dorm-like, or minimally decorated like popular interior design Instagram accounts suggest a celebrity’s house should be—it’s got original wooden floors, patterned wallpaper, and all the markings of a lived-in place that’s her own. Her shelves are stacked with records and books—on the record player, which sits front and center in the living room, Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road spins and spins for infinity, having reached the end of the album. A guitar and a mandolin line the opposite wall, which has a large amp propped up against it, labeled in hot pink tape “Lola.” There are palo santo sticks everywhere.

She’s also made a home in the neighborhood. She greets a friend she knows who’s working at the door at a nearby restaurant, then remarks on how beautiful the pancakes look. Although Kirke has a famous family (her sister is Jemima Kirke, her other sister, Domino, is married to Penn Badgley, her father is the drummer Simon Kirke, etc. etc.), and a lengthy résumé of her own, (a starring role on the Amazon hit Mozart in the Jungle, a part in Gone Girl,) she isn’t snobbish or condescending. She speaks to people lovingly, and levels with them. She visibly enjoys making them laugh. Kirke is eloquent and well-read, pedigreed in her speech, but she talks quickly, furiously, as though her ideas and the metaphors she uses to encapsulate them are ones she’s mulled deeply for months, and she can’t get them out fast enough. Sometimes, however, she is measured in the way she talks, the words she chooses. She demonstrates this when talking about the current state of artistry, which she has said in the past depresses her: all the ego of social media, the lack of general interest aspiring artists seem to have in becoming technically strong or learned in their particular forms.

“I am a little saddened,” Kirke says slowly, “about how the byproduct of films is becoming more important than the product itself. It’s great to have the opportunity to go to Sundance and to be in films that get to go. I’m really grateful for that. I just am scared about the trajectory of cinema and acting and everything as a whole.

She thinks about this a lot, she says, ripping off a piece of pita and dunking it into the dish of labneh, then pressing the bread into her mouth. It grazes a strand of her hair on the way, and leaves a dot of white yogurt. But to combat these feelings on the industry, she plunges herself into the work, hoping that her pursuit of technical excellence will inspire others in some way.

When cast in a new role, Kirke says she wholly dives into the character—and for “Lost Girls,” the film based on a true story of murdered sex workers whose bodies were uncovered in Long Island, N.Y., she read the book of the same name by journalist Robert Kolker, then consulted her friends who were more familiar with sex work. Director Liz Garbus gave her space to expand on the real-life woman she played—a family member of one of the women murdered.

I wanted to have a more nuanced, exciting portrayal of a sex worker who could really be anyone,” she explains. “I just felt like we had an opportunity to change the perspective a little bit on who does this kind of work and why. For me, the pathology of somebody who does that is that they want bigger things for themselves. And they want their life to be more vast and wide-reaching and colorful.

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